March 5, 2015 WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE A BFF Today’s question comes from Mikaela, who writes: I feel like I’m the only one that doesn’t have a BFF. Don’t get me wrong; I have friends, but not BEST friends. I just want someone to hang out with instead of being a loner. Please help me! My Advice: Hi Mikaela! I’m sorry to hear that you’re a Sam without a Cat. I know how important friends are, so I really feel your pain! I wish I could tell you they opened a new BFF store RIGHT down the street from your house, but unfortunately, they don’t have those. Fear not, though! The good news is that you already have some friends, so now it’s just a matter of adding “BF” to one (or more!) of those “F’s”! If you follow my 3-part Pal Plan, you’ll feel less like a loner in no time! Start asking people to hang out with you. OK, so this is kind of obvious, but I’m guessing, based on what you wrote, that you don’t already do this. It’s definitely easier when you’ve known someone since kindergarten. Then you don’t really need to ASK each other to hang out. You just kind of end up together, like two magnets that find each other in a crowded drawer when there’s no A+ paper to hang on the fridge. But when you’re trying to get closer to someone who you HAVEN’T already known forever, you need to make more of an effort! This will probably be easiest if you focus on stuff you have in common with your friends. So, if you know one of them LOVES painting, and you do too, invite her over to use your new art kit with you. Ask friends for their phone numbers. There are some kids I know in school who I consider friends, but they’re not Zoey and Chloe type friends. And I’d never think to text them, “Brandon just read my Facebook message! Then he wrote back, ‘G’night” and I wrote ‘You too!’ Squeeee!!!” We just don’t have that type of friendship…but that doesn’t mean we COULDN’T! It will probably be weird if you text something super personal, like a CPBP (a “crush play by play”). But you could text something thoughtful, like “Good luck on your game tonight!” or something funny, like a weird little smiley face with the words, “This is how I felt after eating that mystery meat in the school cafeteria today! What’s up?” Open up! This is really what makes the difference between a friend and a BEST friend. When someone’s your friend, you tell them stuff like, “I am SO over tuna fish sandwiches!” and “Man, that test was SUPER hard!” When someone’s a BEST friend, you tell them stuff like, “I am SO over my mom’s constant nagging about homework!” and “Man, talking to my crush during lunch was SUPER hard!” If you start sharing your thoughts, feelings, and secrets, your friends might start doing the same. And then all of a sudden you won’t need to ask if they want to hang out after school. They’ll feel so close that THEY’LL ask YOU! And, one last suggestion: If you do these things but still feel like you don’t have a BFF, try not to stress! It can take a while to make super close friends, but it will happen if you keep putting yourself out there. What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Mikaela?